PREDATORS (32-22-5) at DEVILS (36-20-3)
Last 10 --
Nashville 3-5-2; New Jersey 3-5-2
Season series --
This is the second and final meeting between the teams and the first at Prudential Center in Newark. The Predators came away with a 3-2 shootout decision in Nashville on Nov. 19.
Big Story --
After looking so dominant in December and, in the process, earning a nice cushion atop the Atlantic Division standings, the Devils have struggled on hard times the last month. The team has lost 11 of 15 and goalie Martin Brodeur
has sported a 4-8-2 mark over his last 14 games. Following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Flyers on Wednesday, Devils coach Jacques Lemaire wasn't pleased.
"We talk all the time about having long shifts," Lemaire said. "In the room before games, before practices and behind the bench. And we still have long shifts and it hurt us on the very last goal. We're tired. And when you're tired, you can't run, you can't skate and can't chase anybody. You just stand."
The Predators are 1-0-1 on their current four-game road swing with games in New Jersey and Pittsburgh remaining before the Olympic break. The team scored a 2-1 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday as goalie Dan Ellis recorded 37 saves. Meanwhile, rookie Colin Wilson
scored the game-winner with a power-play goal late in the second period. The club has now played in 21 straight games decided by two or fewer goals.
Expect Zach Parise
to return to the lineup against Nashville after sitting out his first game of the season on Wednesday with an upper-body injury. Additionally, Bryce Salvador
, who was hit by a high stick late in the first period against the Flyers and never returned, should also be available. Parise told Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record that he would have practiced on Thursday if the coaching staff hadn't opted to keep players off the ice.
"I'll be fine for (Friday)," Parise told Gulitti. "I don't enjoy watching a game that you should be playing in. It's not fun at all."
Who's Hot --
Nashville forward Martin Erat
is four assists away from tying Kimmo Timonen for second on the franchise's all-time list (222). He's notched 17 assists and 35 points in 52 games this season.
Injury Report --
Nashville will be without center Marcel Goc (upper body) and defenseman Cody Franson (broken rib). … For the Devils, forward David Clarkson
(leg) and defensemen Paul Martin (arm) and Anssi Salmela (concussion) are out.
Stat Pack --
The Predators have scored a power-play goal in four straight games (6-for-18). Since the start of February, the Predators have connected for six of their 13 goals with the man advantage.
Puck Drop --
The Predators will look to continue their success against Eastern Conference competition this season -- the club is 8-3-2 against Eastern opponents. On top of that, Nashville is 16-12-2 on the road, already tying last year's total for road wins. The franchise record was set in 2006-07 when the Preds notched 23 victories on the road.